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#169862 - 09/27/12 10:41 AM Gram Counters
ETSU Pride Offline
member

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 933
Loc: Knoxville, TN
I was thinking about what Lori said in a previous thread where, "shedding ounces adds up to pounds." While it's particular true that ounces can add up to pound of weight loss, but my thought took a different spin at it. See, in accounting a error of say, 5 bucks is highly immaterial to have a significant impact on a financial statements, therefore, no need to disclose the error to investors. So, in backpacking say you can shed 16 ounces of miscellaneous, such as the plastic case for Pocket Rocket, a stuff sack for a tarp, taking less toilet papers, smaller first aid kit, etc but the entire weight of the items you shed is now 1 pound. Your weight has drop from 18 pounds to 17 pounds. (just throwing random numbers out for simplicity.) Is the one pound decrease in weight such a material impact on your body when hiking? Are you really going to noticed a 1 pound lightness to your pack without looking at a scale? Is looking at the decrease in weight on a scale cause a placebo effect in thinking your pack is lighter on you?

Granted if the weight decreased by 5 pounds or more you could feel your pack being lighter without a scale. If it just small items such as no stuff sack, the plastic case, etc I don't see how anyone can feel a material impact. I'm not laughing at Lori's comment or anyone else with the same philosophy in being a gram counter, I'm just curious/fascinated by people shedding 1 ounce of items in hoping to achieve a total pound of items shed, if you can truly feel a difference.

I plan to get lighter hammock down the road, lighter tent, a titanium mug, etc and I believe those could cause a material difference in pack weight. I just find hard time noticing difference between no plastic case for my Pocket Rocket, no stuff sack for my tarp and et cetera.

This might thread might be entertaining. grin


Edit: I just realized I did buy a solid fuel stove as a backup, so I wouldn't have to carry an extra fuel can. While there is a 4 ounce weight difference in a full fuel can and 4 cubes and the pot support, I still cannot feel the difference on my back. I just noticed a decrease in volume since a fuel can is bigger than solid fuel stove.


Edited by ETSU Pride (09/27/12 10:48 AM)
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#169865 - 09/27/12 11:38 AM Re: Gram Counters [Re: ETSU Pride]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 2214
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Materiality - I love it! (One accountant to another) Speaking of such things is our way of getting even with the engineering types and their discussions! smile

Speaking as someone much older than you are, yes, a pound may very well be noticeable now, where it wasn't so much 20 years ago.

On a more serious note, I think it depends on the rest of your load (just as materiality depends on the overall size of the balance sheet, to oversimplify.) Going from a 45 pound load to a 44 pound load isn't going to be very noticeable. Going from 18 to 17 may be more noticeable, but may not really mean much in terms of endurance, speed, or how tired you are at the end of the day. Depending on the trip (goals, mileage, weather, mood, etc.) I bounce between two sets of gear, one weighing 20 pounds and one weighing 18; there's no noticeable difference in carrying one versus the other on a trip of, say, 8 miles per day in gentle Ohio terrain for 2 or 3 days. There is a noticeable difference if I'm trying to do 12 miles a day in the Grayson Highlands. The two sets of gear have slightly different levels of convenience and comfort, but are otherwise identical - that's where the goals and mood come into play.

I could lose a couple more pounds by moving to a frameless pack (or one that uses my pad as part of the frame. But, I find that as I get older, my own preference is for a fairly robust suspension, so I choose to carry the weight. Others choose differently.

The critical changes are those that take you from 45 to 25 pounds. After that, you're mostly refining things (including technique as well as gear) to whittle a few more pounds off.

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#169866 - 09/27/12 12:00 PM Re: Gram Counters [Re: Glenn Roberts]
balzaccom Online   content
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 2244
Loc: Napa, CA
Johnny Unitas used to say that if you take care of getting first downs, the touchdowns will take care of themselves.

Darryl Lamonica, "The Mad Bomber," replied that if you get touchdowns, who cares about first downs?

So yes, you are both wrong and right.

And yes, if you're base weight is 18 pounds, and you drop a pound, that's a five percent reduction.


Edited by balzaccom (09/27/12 12:00 PM)
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#169867 - 09/27/12 12:11 PM Re: Gram Counters [Re: balzaccom]
Cranman Offline
member

Registered: 01/21/12
Posts: 133
Loc: Central NC
You may not notice the pound at the start of the hike, but once you are tired or maybe there's not water where you expect it to be and you're hot tired and thirsty, you would certainly notice it at that point if it was added back to your load. Part of that is mental though. Also if you have carefully evaluated your gear and are satisfied with what you're carrying, and in your mind you have sufficiently lightened your load, then you might enjoy the trip more.

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#169870 - 09/27/12 02:08 PM Re: Gram Counters [Re: ETSU Pride]
Pika Online   content
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1814
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
To me, "gram counting" is more a way of looking at things than it is strictly a way of reducing weight. Lightweight backpacking requires a person to examine every item in their pack and determine not only its weight but whether it is a necessary part of their gear. Choosing the lightest (or lighter) version of any piece of gear is part of the process but the decision whether to take something, at all, is every bit as important. A well thought-out pack with heavier gear may be lighter than an ill-planned pack full of state-of-the-art lightweight stuff. In my opinion, the planning process is just as, if not more, important than simply shaving grams or milligrams from any particular item.
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#169873 - 09/27/12 02:24 PM Re: Gram Counters [Re: Pika]
PerryMK Online   content
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Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1398
Loc: Florida panhandle

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#169879 - 09/27/12 04:17 PM Re: Gram Counters [Re: Pika]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
It's not unlike the question of whether trekking poles help. Cumulatively, yes, there is a difference. But it is perhaps hard to tell if one is not also doing the other things necessary to avoid soreness and exhaustion, like properly hydrating, setting a sustainable pace, eating and sleeping well enough, conditioning/maintaining a certain level of fitness...

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#169886 - 09/27/12 06:56 PM Re: Gram Counters [Re: lori]
ETSU Pride Offline
member

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 933
Loc: Knoxville, TN
You all made some excellent points. This board is like a group of backpackologists... laugh


Edited by ETSU Pride (09/27/12 08:56 PM)
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#169888 - 09/27/12 07:23 PM Re: Gram Counters [Re: ETSU Pride]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6800
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Weight is important to me. At 76, with creaky and somewhat arthritic joints, plus a mostly reconstructed knee, I can't carry even a moderately heavy pack. With my pack as it is, every pound I save on base weight (everything but the items that vary with length of trip, food, fuel and water) means I can stay out another day without resupply. Being able to go out for 8-10 days is important to me. Of course, if I'm going out for only 2-3 days, weight is far less important and I can add fresh fruit or whatever else seems important at the time, or just enjoy a 15-pound pack.

Even so, there is a question of materiality, to say nothing of the law of diminishing returns! (Sorry, another accountant here!) While I have saved two pounds by reducing or eliminating individual "small" (non-"big 4" and non-clothing) items by anywhere from 0.5 to 5.0 ounces, at some point that sort of thing becomes a horrendous effort for the minute amount of weight saved.

I have used the gram function on my digital scale on occasion. Sometimes it's to count calories in my food, since nutrition tables list kcal/gram. I did once use it to evaluate the individual items in my first aid kit. Mostly, though, I use it for cooking from European recipes (all of which are by weight, not volume, and of course metric) in my own kitchen!


Edited by OregonMouse (09/27/12 07:24 PM)
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#169889 - 09/27/12 07:42 PM Re: Gram Counters [Re: ETSU Pride]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
For me one pound makes a huge difference IF it is within my "critical range". I think everyone has a break-over point where the pack goes from comfortable to uncomfortable. In other words, I do not think it is comfort and weight are linerally related. This may have a lot to do with your specific pack's suspension system. This summer I started out with abot 38 pounds. Reducing by about 1.5 pounds per day (food, fuel, consumables) I must say that day 2 and 3 were just as miserable as day 1. But at about day 4 and definitely at day 5, all of a sudden the pack was much more comfortable. Then as it got lighter, it made less difference.

Another factor is your weight. My pack weight, as a percentage of my body wight is more than for the average size backpacker.

Also, one of the easiest way to reduce weight is to carry less water. It does not take much water to equal a pound. There are some really light low-volume filters that would work well if you are not inclined to drink directly out of streams. You could use chlorine tabs for your larger volume in-camp water supply and the filter for day use, carrying only half a liter or so water just in case. Depends on where you backpack.

And I also think excess body weight is like carrying extra in your pack. If overweight, loosing 5 pounds before your trip may do more than counting grams in gear choices.

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#169891 - 09/27/12 07:57 PM Re: Gram Counters [Re: ETSU Pride]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
For me, I can really feel the difference when I go over 30 pounds.

I'm fine with anything under that, but anything over it feels heavy and it hurts. I tested loading different combos of gear a lot last season and even before putting it on a scale I could always tell when I went over that mark.

Like the proverbial "straw that broke the camels back" I suspect that we all have a weight that marks our limit like that.

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#169895 - 09/27/12 10:45 PM Re: Gram Counters [Re: billstephenson]
Samoset Offline
member

Registered: 07/04/08
Posts: 429
Loc: Newnan ,GA
If I shave a pound in pack weight.

Im more likely to bring a Ribye or some Burbon. Or both.

Off to see if I can't eliminate any stuff sacks or hack any grams off any thing else wink

In all seriousness though. I could probably eliminate two pounds of dead weight from my kit. And have just been to lazy to do it. I could probably chop an additional three pounds for about 300-400 bucks, just can't justify the price.

Im about 25 lbs with food water for three days and I'm totally comfy at that as I pack plenty of goodies for the trip;)
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#169896 - 09/27/12 10:49 PM Re: Gram Counters [Re: wandering_daisy]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1110
Loc: Colorado
Once I got addicted to gram cracking without buying any new gear, I was able to shed about 15 pounds off my pack for a 4 day/3 night trip.

The biggest gain was in not bringing too much food.
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#169897 - 09/27/12 11:06 PM Re: Gram Counters [Re: Gershon]
Samoset Offline
member

Registered: 07/04/08
Posts: 429
Loc: Newnan ,GA
Originally Posted By Gershon

The biggest gain was in not bringing too much food.


This is very true. When hiking solo im much more frugal in the food I choose to bring. when hiking with a group especially the freeze dried crowds. Fresh food is easy to unload if need be & smile You could also always eat it smile

I have also found that if I bring real natural foods in there original forms I don't carry as much food weight. because I'm more satisfied by each meal. I also don't carry as much water as my food usually doesn't require rehydration. Or cooking for that mater. Avocado and cheese sandwiches can keep for five days. Super satisfying. Especially with some spicy mustArd. And ohh on a whole grain bagels emmm

Ok sorry for ranting im off th raid the fridge now smile


Edited by Samoset (09/27/12 11:09 PM)
Edit Reason: hunger attack
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#169898 - 09/28/12 12:45 AM Re: Gram Counters [Re: Samoset]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6800
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
lol
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